According to David Wallace, the western representative for the North Carolina State Energy Office who’s pictured here, Gov. Mike Easley‘s proposed new budget would leave many of the state’s alternative-energy initiatives in the lurch.
Writing in his new blog on the Web site Sustainable WNC, Wallace says that the governor “is asking that the State Energy Office close down its programs in Alternative Fuels, Green Building, Residential solar, wind and hydro power, industrial energy efficiency, and a few other bits and pieces, and continue only with its program to reduce utility bills in state agencies, universities, community colleges and school systems.”
The State Energy Office has spearheaded numerous alternative-energy programs in recent years, including creation of a string of natural-gas filling stations from WNC to the coast, support of biofuels projects and development of a wind map for the purpose of siting turbines.
Wallace elaborated: “The SEO never had any significant state funding. Our programs have been largely funded until now from a Federal pot of money that will be completely depleted this year. No one in NC is actively gutting our programs – the issue for the state is how many of our programs should be kept alive. The Governor’s proposal of $1.3m for the SEO is adequate for the purpose for which it is intended – i.e. to maintain the Utility Savings Inititative [sic] for public agencies, but to allow all our other programs, and the associated program managers we fund at NC Solar Center, ASU Energy Center, Waste Reduction Partners, etc., to disappear.”
— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer